Snoqualmie Tribe Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Hunting and Gathering Civil Rights Case

The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, a federally recognized tribe in King County, filed a petition on March 11 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review its hunt and gather civil rights case against the governor. Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The tribe is seeking the reversal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that denied Snoqualmie treaty status and stripped it of its hunting and gathering rights reserved in the Point Elliott Treaty, despite the fact that the United States has repeatedly confirmed the tribe as a treaty signatory.

“If this outrageous decision stands, all it will take is for a federal judge to act maliciously to threaten the rights of any tribe in America,” President Robert de los Angeles said. “This is one of the most dangerous federal cases involving tribal rights in decades, and every tribe in the country should fear the idea of ​​giving a federal judge the power to unilaterally overturn any tribal rights anywhere. in America.”

In American jurisprudence, treaties are considered the “supreme law of the land” and the executive branch is responsible for their enforcement, while Congress has sole authority to repeal the terms of treaties. No act of Congress altered the Point Elliott Treaty, and the U.S. Department of the Interior has repeatedly acknowledged that Snoqualmie is a treaty signatory with treaty rights.

In late August 2021, the Ninth Circuit court declined to recognize Snoqualmie’s treaty rights based on a 1979 ruling issued when Snoqualmie was unrecognized and landless.

“Just as fourteen representatives of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe signed the Point Elliott Treaty to protect the rights, culture and ancestral lands of their descendants,” de los Angeles said in a written statement, “so will For our generation of Snoqualmie leaders, never give up the fight to protect the human rights of the next seven generations of our tribe.

The case arose out of a 2019 ruling by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, which unilaterally informed Snoqualmie that it had determined – without consulting Snoqualmie or the United States government – ​​that “the Snoqualmie Tribe has no off-reserve hunting and fishing rights”. under the treaty.

According to the tribe, WDFW and Gov. Jay Inslee have refused repeated pleas for state officials to stop meddling in a federal matter, forcing the tribe to file a lawsuit for relief from officials’ harassment. enforcement of state laws.

“This was a pointless legal fight that Governor Inslee and the WDFW volunteered to fight and then refused to back down, despite the state having no material interest in the outcome,” de los said. Angeles. “It is disgusting that Washington State is wasting taxpayer resources and state employee time trying to stop a Snoqualmie grandmother from picking blueberries or a Snoqualmie veteran from hunting deer to support the needs of his family. It’s inconsistent with everything our state stands for and the values ​​we teach our children.

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